Workers Issues in the US

The political issues in the autoworkers’ struggle

By Jerry White, 22 September 2015

The fight to win the most elemental rights of workers, including a significant improvement in living standards and an end to the two-tier wage system, pits autoworkers in a struggle against the entire economic and political system.

Autoworker outrage erupts over UAW-Fiat Chrysler sellout deal

Campaign for “no” vote grows

By our reporter, 21 September 2015

The WSWS Autoworker Newsletter is leading a campaign for a “no” vote and for workers to form rank-and-file committees, independent of the UAW, to organize opposition.

“The UAW is corporate now. They’re the police of the company.”

Autoworkers across the US outraged over UAW-Fiat Chrysler deal

By Eric London, 21 September 2015

As details emerge of the agreement made last week by Fiat Chrysler and the UAW, workers say the fact the union would agree to the deal is an insult to their intelligence.

Lockout of US steelworkers at ATI enters sixth week

By Evan Winters, 21 September 2015

In the sixth week of the lockout, the company maintains a hard line and continues its efforts to operate with scab labor from Strom Engineering.

Reject UAW sellout! Build rank-and-file committees to fight the union-company conspiracy against autoworkers!

By Jerry White, 21 September 2015

The UAW is pushing a deal that will establish permanently lower wages, shift the costs of health care onto workers, encourage back-breaking speedups and set the stage for a new round of layoffs and plant closings.

UAW “highlights” of Fiat Chrysler deal expose corporate-union conspiracy against autoworkers

By Joseph Kishore, 19 September 2015

Autoworkers should reject the sellout agreement—which will escalate the attack on jobs and living standards—with the contempt that it deserves.

The GM ignition defect settlement and capitalist “justice”

By Patrick Martin, 19 September 2015

The slap on the wrist this week for General Motors, for the deaths of at least 124 people, is another demonstration that capitalism has one law for working people and another for the ruling elite.

Locked out Allegheny Technologies steelworkers continue fight

By Evan Winters, 19 September 2015

The lockout of 2,200 steelworkers at Allegheny Technologies Inc. (ATI) at 12 mills in six states has entered its sixth week.

Contract worker killed at US Steel mill in Pittsburgh

By Evan Winters, 19 September 2015

Parrish Sewell, 44, fell to his death at the US Steel Edgar Thomson Plant Wednesday night in Braddock, Pennsylvania.

Seattle teachers face sellout contract

By David Brown, 19 September 2015

Union officials are pushing a sellout contract on teachers after calling off the strike last Tuesday.

New update in the contract fight

Fiat Chrysler autoworkers demand time to study contract before vote

By Joseph Kishore, 18 September 2015

Autoworkers spoke to the WSWS about the deep opposition to the tentative agreement in plants throughout the country, and warned against the UAW’s schemes to push the deal through.

Kokomo Transmission workers denounce UAW-Fiat Chrysler sellout

By Jerry White, 18 September 2015

Workers at Chrysler’s Kokomo Transmission Plant in Indiana expressed their anger, as details of the agreement signed by the UAW became known.

UAW used threats to stop walkout at Detroit Fiat Chrysler plant

By Jerry White, 16 September 2015

Late shift workers at the Warren Truck Plant described the strikebreaking role of the UAW as the contract expired at midnight on Monday.

Seattle teachers union calls off strike

By David Brown, 16 September 2015

The teachers union has moved to end the six-day strike on the basis of a sellout contract, despite broad public support for the teachers.

As contract deadline passes

Autoworkers denounce UAW sabotage of wages fight

By Eric London, 15 September 2015

Autoworkers around the US have spoken out against the UAW operation to stifle workers’ demands to recoup decades of lost income.

Seattle teachers continue strike

By David Brown, 15 September 2015

Some 5,000 teachers in Seattle remain on strike in a battle that is being isolated by the National Education Association.

Why the UAW picked Fiat Chrysler

By Jerry White, 15 September 2015

Fiat Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne and UAW President Dennis Williams are both seeking a deal on the two-tier system, which will permanently lower the top pay of autoworkers.

US Steel maintaining hard line in contract talks with steelworkers

By Shannon Jones, 12 September 2015

The United Steelworkers union has refused to wage a struggle in the face of demands by steelmakers US Steel and ArcelorMittal for draconian cuts to health care benefits.

Locked out Allegheny Technologies steelworkers speak about working conditions

By Evan Winters, 12 September 2015

Two locked-out workers recently spoke to the WSWS about their experiences after being transferred six years ago from a company facility in Indiana to Pennsylvania.

Strike by Seattle teachers continues through third day

By David Brown, 12 September 2015

With no negotiations set, 5,000 teachers and staff in Seattle, Washington remained on strike Friday.

Behind the UAW news blackout

What is taking place in the US auto contract negotiations?

By Eric London, 12 September 2015

Autoworkers want to know what is going on behind closed doors in the talks between the union and the companies.

”You get hired here and they pretty much own your soul”

Locked out Allegheny Technologies workers speak out

By Evan Winters, 11 September 2015

ATI workers in Vandergrift, Pennsylvania, locked out since August 15, described the grueling work schedules and dangerous conditions they face in the mill.

Five thousand teachers in Seattle, Washington go on strike

By David Brown, 10 September 2015

The strike is an expression of the widespread desire among teachers to defend public education, while the unions are working to channel discontent back into the Democratic Party.

Labor Day in America

Union sellouts promote Democratic wage-cutters

By Jerry White, 8 September 2015

Amid mounting working-class anger and disgust with both big-business parties, the unions are working to promote the lie that the Democrats speak for the working man.

Allegheny Technologies Inc. lockout enters fourth week

By Evan Winters, 7 September 2015

As the USW pushes for a concessions contract in federal mediation, ATI is seeking to continue production with strikebreakers contracted from Strom Engineering.

Autoworkers speak out

Young autoworker earns too little to keep car on the road

By Jerry White, 7 September 2015

Once they pay for food, utilities and other critical bills, particularly if they are raising children, there is little left to make a payment on a new or even used vehicle.

Autoworkers speak out from Bedford, Indiana

By Eric London, 5 September 2015

Autoworkers in southern Indiana spoke to the World Socialist Web Site about the bankruptcy of the trade unions, growing support for rank-and-file committees, and the need for a nationwide strike.

Wages for low-income workers collapsed under Obama

By Andre Damon, 4 September 2015

Pay for a typical US worker has fallen by 4 percent since 2009, and the incomes of many lower-paid workers have fallen up to twice as fast.

Fiat Chrysler to move Jeep Cherokee production out of Toledo

By Shannon Jones, 4 September 2015

The fate of thousands of jobs is being left up in the air with less than two weeks to the expiration of the national auto contract.

For a united struggle of US steel, auto and telecommunications workers!

By Jerry White, 3 September 2015

Amidst rising anger among workers throughout the United States, the unions are working to suppress opposition to the relentless assault on wages and benefits.

As contract expires, USW orders steelworkers to stay on the job

By our reporters, 2 September 2015

Thousands of steelworkers rallied ahead of the expiration at midnight yesterday of three-year contracts covering 30,000 workers at US Steel and ArcelorMittal.

Unions keep Verizon and AT&T workers on job without contracts

By Samuel Davidson and Maria Kovalenko, 1 September 2015

The Communication Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers have blocked a strike by nearly 70,000 telecom workers.

A&P supermarket chain asks bankruptcy court to overturn labor agreements

By Isaac Finn, 1 September 2015

A&P is asking the court to disregard provisions related to seniority and cut severance pay, amid threats to slash 22,000 jobs.

Autoworkers speak out: Louisville, Kentucky Ford worker denounces UAW-company alliance

By Eric London, 1 September 2015

Nearly 10,000 autoworkers in Louisville, Kentucky produce trucks and SUVs for Ford Motor Company, which boasted near-record profits in the second quarter of this year.

US steelworkers union blocks fight against wage and benefit cuts

By Jerry White, 31 August 2015

The United Steelworkers (USW) union has ordered workers at ArcelorMittal and US Steel to stay on the job as the giant corporations prepare an all-out war against workers.

Locked-out ATI steelworker injured by van carrying scab workers

By our reporters, 29 August 2015

Locked out steelworker Jim Dietz was injured and taken to a local hospital after being hit on the picket line by a van carrying strikebreakers driven by ATI security.

UAW begins contract talks with farm machinery maker John Deere

By George Gallanis, 29 August 2015

The UAW opened negotiations this week for a new contract covering 11,200 workers at the world’s largest manufacturer of agricultural machinery.

A portrait of life in America’s Rust Belt: Part Three

Part Three

By Eric London, 29 August 2015

The following is an on-the-spot report on social conditions in working-class areas hit hard by deindustrialization in the US state of Indiana.

Autoworkers speak out: GM worker in Wentzville, Missouri calls for international unity

By Eric London, 26 August 2015

Autoworkers are increasingly seeing the bankruptcy of the nationalist orientation of the UAW.

Lockout of 2,200 workers at Pittsburgh-based steel manufacturer enters second week

By Evan Winters, 24 August 2015

The United Steelworkers union is isolating locked-out workers at Allegheny Technologies Inc., which is demanding steep cuts and the conversion of the workforce into low-wage casual labor.

Thousands of US steelworkers rally in advance of contract expiration

By Shannon Jones, 22 August 2015

Workers at US Steel and ArcelorMittal demonstrated across the US this week in opposition to concession demands.

Locked out Allegheny Technology steelworkers determined to fight

By Phyllis Scherrer, 21 August 2015

Locked out workers and their supporters in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area spoke to the WSWS about the issues in their struggle.

US steelworkers, autoworkers demand wage hikes in new contracts

By Jerry White, 20 August 2015

Steelworkers are protesting against wage freezes and benefit cuts as autoworkers vote for strike action.

Amazon office workers subjected to brutal exploitation

By Gabriel Black, 20 August 2015

Amazon’s white-collar employees are routinely expected to work 80 hour workweeks and are penalized for any lost productivity, including from pregnancy or serious illness.

As contract deadline nears

US Steel to close blast furnace, cut 1,100 jobs at Alabama mill

By Jerry White, 18 August 2015

The job cuts by US Steel and the lock out of Allegheny Technology workers are aimed at blackmailing workers into accepting sweeping concessions.

Autoworkers vote for strike as UAW continues silence on talks

By Shannon Jones, 18 August 2015

The overwhelming strike votes by Fiat Chrysler workers stand in sharp contrast to the continued stonewalling by UAW leaders on the content of negotiations.

Pittsburgh-based steel manufacturer locks out 2,200 workers

By Evan Winters, 17 August 2015

Allegheny Technologies Incorporated is demanding increased out-of-pocket health care costs, more flexible work rules and the elimination of defined-benefit pensions for new hires.

Fiat-Chrysler workers overwhelmingly support strike action

By Marcus Day, 17 August 2015

Autoworkers told the WSWS that strike authorization votes this week passed by a landslide at Chrysler’s Jefferson North and Belvidere Assembly plants.

US contract deadlines in auto and steel

For a united offensive of autoworkers and steelworkers against the corporate-government assault

By Jerry White, 17 August 2015

The convergence of these contract expirations poses the potential and the necessity for a joint struggle against the corporate-government attack on the working class.

US, Mexican and Canadian autoworkers face common fight

By David Brown and Jerry White, 12 August 2015

As talks for a new labor contract continue, the US-based automakers are threatening to shift more production to Mexico and other lower wage countries.

Verizon workers rally in New York, authorize strike action

By a WSWS reporting team, 29 July 2015

Workers denounced attacks on benefits and job security at Manhattan demonstration.

Layoffs mount in West Virginia

By Naomi Spencer, 29 July 2015

The state has the highest unemployment and lowest workforce participation rates in the country, figures exacerbated by mass layoffs in coal, rail and other key industries.

UAW keeps sellout plans concealed as talks open with Ford

By Shannon Jones, 24 July 2015

Behind the scenes the parameters are being developed for a betrayal of auto workers

Who’s who on the UAW negotiating team?

By Gabriel Black, 23 July 2015

The top four bargainers for the UAW—Dennis Williams, James Settles, Cindy Estrada and Norwood Jewell—have a long record of imposing the dictates of corporate management.

Contract deadline approaches for Verizon and AT&T workers

By Samuel Davidson and Maria Kovalenko, 22 July 2015

Sixty thousand workers at the two largest telecommunication companies in the US face a fight to defend health care and pensions.

Pew report: US unfunded public pension liabilities hit $1 trillion

By George Gallanis, 20 July 2015

State and local governments have systematically starved public employee pension funds of cash for decades, claiming that there is “no money” to properly fund them.

The battle ahead for US autoworkers

By Jerry White, 16 July 2015

The opening of talks on new contracts covering 140,000 US autoworkers was marked by a grotesque display of UAW-corporate unity on plans to boost company profits and increase exploitation.

Socialist Equality Party launches digital WSWS Autoworker Newsletter

By Jerry White, 15 July 2015

The weekly newsletter will provide coverage of the struggle confronting 139,000 US workers at General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler, whose labor contracts expire September 15.

Workers face 1930s-type exploitation at Chicago Ford plants

By Kristina Betinis, 15 July 2015

A class action suit names both management personnel and UAW officials in connection with sexual harassment, racial discrimination and threats of violence.

Contract talks set to begin for 140,000 US autoworkers

By Jerry White, 13 July 2015

The negotiations do not involve antagonistic parties, as the UAW long ago abandoned any defense of workers’ interests and tied its institutional fate to the profits of the auto companies.

As contract talks set to start

Ford threatens mass layoffs at Michigan truck plant

By Tim Rivers, 13 July 2015

In a surprise announcement July 9, Ford Motor Company said it will shift production of the Focus and C-Max from its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan to an undisclosed location outside the US The move threatens the jobs of 4,000 workers employed at the plant.

Pittsburgh energy company cuts health care for 4,400 retired workers

By Samuel Davidson, 6 July 2015

Pittsburgh-based coal and natural gas giant Consol Energy is the latest in a series of private companies to cut health benefits for its retired workforce.

Milwaukee transit workers strike

By Christopher Davion, 2 July 2015

After working since April 1 without a contract, Milwaukee bus drivers and mechanics began a 72-hour strike early Wednesday.

Illinois begins fiscal year without budget as austerity package is drawn up

By Alexander Fangmann, 2 July 2015

Republican governor Bruce Rauner and Democratic leaders are crafting a deal that will implement a bevy of anti-worker provisions as part of a bipartisan deal to raise taxes and cut state services.

With appointment of Kenneth Feinberg to oversee cuts

White House steps up assault on pensions

By Andre Damon, 20 June 2015

The White House said Wednesday that it will grant long-time Washington fixer Kenneth Feinberg the power to unilaterally slash the benefits of retirees in multiemployer pension funds.

The New York Times, Scott Walker and the unions

By Jerry White, 17 June 2015

The cover story of Sunday’s New York Times Magazine promotes the myth that the unions waged a determined struggle against Wisconsin Governor, and likely Republican presidential candidate, Scott Walker.

Contract covering 16,500 General Electric workers to expire June 21

By John Marion, 16 June 2015

Negotiations between General Electric and an umbrella group of unions began this month in New York.

AFSCME backs Illinois bill banning strikes

By Alexander Fangmann, 9 June 2015

Senate Bill 1229 would ban strikes by state employees through the duration of Governor Bruce Rauner’s term in office.

San Diego, California renews emergency services contract with low-wage company

By K. Rowe and Toby Reese, 6 June 2015

The Democratic-controlled city council voted unanimously for an agreement that maintains a starting wage of only $10 an hour for new EMTs.

Build rank-and-file committees to prepare the fight for jobs and wages!

By Jerry White, 5 June 2015

With little more than three months before the expiration of the labor agreement with GM, Ford and Fiat-Chrysler, autoworkers need to prepare now for a fight to defend their interests.

Los Angeles labor federation calls for minimum wage exemption for unionized workplaces

By Marc Wells, 1 June 2015

The “Fight for $15” campaign has been used to entice employers to bring in unions, which will in turn enforce sub-minimum wages.

Union imposes another concession deal on West Coast dockworkers

By Hector Cordon, 26 May 2015

The contract signed by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union further undermines jobs and conditions and does nothing to address management’s moves to create a largely casualized, low-paid workforce.

Fire erupts at nuclear power plant outside of New York City

By Daniel de Vries, 12 May 2015

The third major fire in eight years broke out at the nuclear facility, spilling thousands of gallons of oil into the Hudson River.

Illinois Supreme Court strikes down state pension cuts

By Alexander Fangmann, 11 May 2015

Despite the ruling, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel remain committed to slashing public employee pensions.

Re-sentencing leaves Atlanta educators still facing years in prison

By Kranti Kumara and Jerry White, 5 May 2015

From the beginning, the Atlanta case has been a political vendetta aimed at further discrediting public school teachers and accelerating the process of privatizing public education.

BP and Steelworkers union reach sellout deal to end three-month Indiana refinery strike

By Marcus Day, 5 May 2015

Even as it rewards its executives and shareholders, BP has repeatedly claimed that it must cut costs and impose harsh working conditions to remain competitive.

Wayne County, Michigan “Recovery Plan” guts public worker pensions, health benefits

By Johanna Murger, 5 May 2015

Executive Warren Evans says the “strong medicine” in his financial plan is the only way to avoid emergency management in the county that includes Detroit.

Los Angeles teachers face political fight to defend public education

By Dan Conway, 4 May 2015

The agreement signed by the LA teachers' union will escalate the assault on teachers and public education, while rewarding the union apparatus for backing school “reform.”

Strike of California nurses ends

By Marc Wells, 2 May 2015

After a tentative agreement, 6,500 nurses in eight California hospitals returned to work.

“Part 2” of the Detroit bankruptcy

Michigan governor releases plan for assault on public education

By Nancy Hanover, 2 May 2015

The governor’s plan to reorganize Detroit Public Schools is the most ambitious structural overhaul of public education since the all-charter school district was established in New Orleans.

Port truck drivers walk out again in southern California

By Marc Wells, 29 April 2015

Truck drivers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach went on strike Monday over wage theft and to be reclassified as employees, not “independent contractors.”

California and Illinois nurses set to strike

By Marc Wells, 25 April 2015

Nurses at eight California hospitals and one Chicago medical center have announced a strike against understaffing, limited by the unions to a one- or two-day action.

California’s Inland Empire: A model of low-wage “growth”

By Marc Wells, 22 April 2015

California’s Inland Empire, one of the fastest growing economies in the US, is creating low-paying, unsafe jobs despite a considerable boom in the logistics industry.

Striking Houston-area refinery workers reject “last, best” contract offers

By Tom Hall, 20 April 2015

LyondellBasell will begin unilaterally imposing the terms of a contract that includes huge givebacks on overtime pay.

More layoffs as global oil price slump continues

By Niles Williamson, 18 April 2015

The world’s largest oilfield service company, Schlumberger, announced this week that as a result of declining oil production it will cut 11,000 jobs worldwide, bringing the firm’s total layoffs so far this year to 20,000.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 14 April 2015

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Oil giants and USW seek concessions at last refineries still on strike

By Marcus Day, 13 April 2015

As the oil companies insist there is no money to improve working conditions or wages, last week Shell announced a $70 billion takeover of the natural gas company BG.

Media tributes for Victor Gotbaum, union leader who saved banks in 1975 New York City fiscal crisis

By Fred Mazelis, 13 April 2015

Gotbaum’s precedent-setting surrender of New York City workers’ rights in the 1970s paved the way for the American ruling class’ offensive against workers throughout the US and the record inequality of today.

The UAW’s loyal opposition

By Jerry White, 11 April 2015

At last month’s UAW bargaining convention, a group of self-styled “dissidents” worked to bolster illusions that the UAW is a viable organization that can be reformed through pressure from below.

Indiana “solidarity” rally promotes Democrats, covers up USW betrayal of oil workers’ strike

By George Marlowe and Jerry White, 1 April 2015

The March 27 event sponsored by the United Steelworkers and AFL-CIO was billed as a “solidarity” rally for 1,100 workers on strike at the BP Whiting, Indiana refinery for nearly two months.

UAW president open to discuss new lower pay scale for auto workers

By Jerry White, 30 March 2015

In a March 25 press conference following the United Auto Workers bargaining convention in Detroit, UAW President Dennis Williams said he was willing to consider the creation of a new, third tier of workers.

At bargaining convention in Detroit

UAW president insists auto workers must “face the facts” of global competition

By Jerry White, 26 March 2015

Facing demands from workers for a significant improvement of wages, the UAW reasserted its commitment to maintaining the competitiveness and profitability of the US automakers.

BP workers in Indiana denounce USW isolation of oil workers strike

By George Marlowe, 26 March 2015

Workers at BP’s Whiting, Indiana plant and a handful of other refineries remain on strike, as the USW works to quickly end the walkout at Shell, Tesoro and other companies.

United Auto Workers union meets in Detroit to prepare 2015 contract betrayal

By Jerry White, 25 March 2015

The first day of the UAW bargaining convention underscored the organization’s role as a tool of the auto companies and the Obama administration.

Stockton, California teachers endorse possible strike action

By David Brown, 25 March 2015

The Stockton Teachers Association and School District have exchanged allegations of illegal labor practices in the wake of a recent strike authorization vote.

As United Auto Workers bargaining convention opens

Media worries whether UAW can contain auto workers’ expectations

By Shannon Jones, 24 March 2015

With GM, Ford and Chrysler raking in an estimated $76 billion since 2009, auto workers are determined to win improvements in the upcoming auto contract talks.

USW isolates remaining oil worker strikes

By Jerry White, 18 March 2015

Oil workers continue to walk the picket lines at refineries across the US despite the efforts of the United Steelworkers to shut down the month-and-a-half long strike.

Steelworkers union pushes local contracts following national deal to end US oil strike

By our reporters, 14 March 2015

Picketing by oil workers will continue until agreements are passed at each separate refinery, with workers who do not accept the terms left completely isolated.

USW reaches sellout deal, moves to shut down oil workers’ strike

By Jerry White, 13 March 2015

Any deal reached on the basis of blocking the full mobilization of oil workers against the intransigence of the energy giants can be nothing but a miserable betrayal.

Obama’s criticism of right-to-work law: A defense of the corporatist bureaucracy

By Shannon Jones, 13 March 2015

Obama’s criticism of the recently enacted right-to-work law in Wisconsin reflects divisions in the ruling establishment over the best way to pursue attacks on the working class.